CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
S. 1707 is being considered under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds vote for passage. The legislation was introduced by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) on September 24, 2009. The Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent on the same day.
S. 1707 authorizes $1.5 billion annually in non-military assistance to Pakistan from Fiscal Year 2010 through 2014. The bill would also authorize "such sums" in annual military training and education, as well as financing funds for the same period.
The bill authorizes the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF) for Fiscal Year 2010 and would make economic aid contingent on delivery of a "Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report" from the Administration within 60 days after enactment. The bill would further condition such assistance in Fiscal Year 2010 on a certification that such aid "has made or is making reasonable progress" toward achieving the objectives laid out in the Strategy Report. These limitations would be subject to a national security interest waiver.
The security assistance under the bill is conditioned on a certification by the Secretary of State, under the direction of the President, that Pakistan is cooperating with the U.S. on certain nonproliferation objectives, in combating terrorism, and that Pakistan's security forces are not materially interfering in its internal politics. This limitation would be subject to a national security interest waiver. The bill states that certain direct cash security-related assistance and non-assistance payments (reimbursements from the Defense Department) may only be provided or made to civilian authorities of a civilian government of Pakistan, but this limitation is also subject to a national interest waiver.
In addition to the Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report, the legislation also includes transparency and accountability provisions, including semi-annual monitoring reports on assistance provided under the bill, GAO oversight, and audits of assistance by the Inspector General of USAID and the Department of State.
On June 11, 2009, the House passed H.R. 1886, another Pakistan assistance bill, by a vote of 234-185. That legislation was not considered by the Senate and was opposed by some Members due to limitations on how the Executive Branch could utilize grant assistance.
This version of the bill provides substantially greater flexibility to the Executive Branch and military commanders in the field than the one which passed the House earlier this year. This legislation is strongly supported by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In a letter dated September 25, 2009, Gates and Mullen wrote that, "the bill as revised addresses the key concerns we previously raised in an April 28, 2009 letter...This bill would support the U.S. national security interests in Afghanistan and Pakistan." S. 1707 does not include trade provisions in the earlier House-passed version of the bill dealing with "Reconstruction Opportunity Zones" in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Pakistan currently faces a complex network of extremism in its Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATAs) and the North West Frontier Province and Baluchistan. Al Qaeda uses these areas as safe havens from which to plan and execute attacks against the U.S. and western interests. The region also harbors the senior leadership of the Taliban and other extremist groups, seeking to undermine the governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan and to establish control over the population and territory in each country. While U.S. forces in Afghanistan are considered to be the main targets of the Taliban and al Qaeda forces in Pakistan's western border areas, the extremists have increasingly shifted their focus to the Pakistani government and security forces as well. Since 2001, the U.S. has contributed over $12 billion to Pakistan. Some Members may believe it is in the national security interests of the United States to work with the Government of Pakistan and its security forces to maintain stability and to disrupt these groups' planning and aspirations and to deny them territory to use as safe havens.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has not yet produced a cost estimate for the bill. However, the bill would authorize $1.5 billion per year over a five year period, in addition to "such sums" for military training and financing.